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# Theory of Measurements and

Errors
Florence A. Galeon
Assistant Professor
U.P. College of Engineering

Outline
I.
II.
III.
IV.
V.
VI.
VII.
VIII.

Introduction
Error and Mistake/Blunder
Sources of Error
Kinds of Error
Accuracy and Precision
Theory of Probability
Most Probable Value
Illustrative Problems
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Introduction

80
8001

800101
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## Error and Mistake/Blunder

Error is defined as the difference between the
true or established value and the measured
value.

## Mistake/Blunder results from misunderstanding

the problem, poor judgment, confusion on the
part of the observer, or careless procedures,
and are indications of incompetence.
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Sources of Error
1. Personal Errors these arise because of the
limitations of the human senses of sight, touch or
hearing.
2. Instrumental Errors these are due to
imperfections in the instruments or accessories
with which measurements are taken.
3. Natural Errors these are caused by variations in
the phenomena of nature.
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Refraction illustration

## Magnetic Declination illustration

Kinds of Errors
Systematic Errors
Systematic errors always follow some definite
mathematical or physical law.
They can be computed and their effects reduced
or eliminated by applying corrections.

Accidental Errors
These are the errors which remain after mistakes
and systematic errors have been eliminated.
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Accidental Errors
They are caused by factors beyond the control of
the observer, obey the laws of probability, and
are sometimes called random errors.

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## There is no absolute way to compute accidental errors or to

correct and eliminate them.
Accidental errors are also called compensating errors and are
those which are as likely to be positive as they are to be
negative, that is, they tend to balance or to compensate one
another in a series of measurements.
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## Terms related to the magnitude of error:

Discrepancy
It is the difference between two measured values of the same
quantity.

Accuracy
It is the degree of conformity with a standard (the "truth").
It relates to the quality of a result.
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Precision
It is the degree of refinement in the performance of an
operation, or the degree of perfection in the instruments
and methods used to obtain a result.
It is an indication of the uniformity or reproducibility of a
result.
It relates to the quality of an operation by which a result is
obtained.
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Accuracy
Versus
Precision

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## Accuracy and Precision: numerical example

For Example: Target Distance Value = 100.000 meters
Values
100.5
100.0
100.555
100.001

Accurate?

Precise?

no
yes
no
yes

no
no
yes
yes
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## Accuracy and Precision: numerical example

For Example: Target Angle Value = 1000000
Values
10030
10000
1003030
1000001

Accurate?

Precise?

no
yes
no
yes

no
no
yes
yes
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Theory of Probability
It is based on the following assumptions
relative to the occurrences of errors:
1.

## Small errors occur more often than large ones

and that they are more probable.

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Theory of Probability
2.

## Large errors happen infrequently and are

therefore less probable; for normally distributed
errors, unusually large ones may be mistakes
rather than accidental errors.

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Theory of Probability
3.

## Positive and negative errors of the same size

happen with equal frequency; that is, they are
equally probable.

4.

## The mean of an infinite number of

observations is the most probable value.

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Definition:

## It refers to a quantity which, based on

available data, has more chances of being
correct than has any other.

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Illustrative Problems
1.A UP Engineering professor sent out six groups of GE
10 students to measure a distance between two
points marked on the ground. The students came up
with the following six different values: 250.25, 250.15,
249.90, 251.04, 250.50, and 251.22 meters. Assuming
these values are equally reliable and that variations
result from accidental errors, determine the most
probable value of the distance measured.
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Illustrative Problem
A

## 2. The observed interior angles

of a triangle are:
A = 351437,
B = 963009, and
C = 481505.
Determine the discrepancy
for the given observation
and the most probable value
of each angle.

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Illustrative Problem
3. The angles about a point Q have
the following observed values:
1301520, 1423730, and
870740. Determine the most
probable value of each angle.

870740

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Illustrative Problem
4. Measurement of three horizontal
APB = 123150,
BPC = 372920, and
CPD = 473630. If the
measurement of the single
P
angle APD is 973700,
determine the most probable
values of the angles.

A
B

D
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Basic Statistics
Definition of Terms:
1. Probable Error
a mathematical quantity giving an indication of
precision

2.Residuals or Deviations
The difference between each of the individual
measurements from the mean value
v = (x-)
where v = residual or deviation
x = an observed value
= mean of the observed values

## 3.Standard Error or Standard Deviation

A measure of the amount of variation in the data
= v / (n-1)
Where = standard deviation
v = sum of the squares of the residuals
n = number of observations

## 4.Probable Error of a Single Observation

Indicates the degree of precision which may be
expected in any single observation made under
the same conditions
Es = 0.6745()
Where Es = probable error of a single observation
= standard deviation

## 5.Probable Error of the Mean

Em = Es/ n
Where Em = probable error of the mean
Es = probable error of a single observation
n = number of observations

## 6.Error Ratio or Precision of Measurement

The ratio of the error in a measurement to the
whole measurement
The ratio of the error to the most probable value
RP or ER = e/MV or Em/MPV
Where e = error in a measurement
MV = value of the whole measurement
Em = probable error of the mean
MPV = most probable value

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